College students are subject to many sources of stress throughout their time in school; homework and projects for classes, trying to make money by having a job, maintaining a social life, and attempting to balance all of these things at once. On top of all this pressure, students eventually begin to realize that they must think about their future after graduation.
A college student’s biggest fear is being swamped with student loans after graduating. Many undergraduates receive a great amount of help from their parents when it comes to paying the bills and loans. However, there are students who have to deal with the stress and burden of student loans all on their own.
Tom Gargano, a sophomore business student at the University who is paying his own way through college, said, “It has its rewards and downfalls…because I have to work throughout the week I have less time for social activities and homework. I have to manage myself properly and according to my work and class schedule.”
He explained that this kind of balancing act is hard for any student, but it seems to be even more difficult when your college student job is the only way you are getting through school.
I am a junior transfer education student here at the University. When you were in high school, I’m sure one of the parts that you were most excited about in regards to going to college was getting the full away-from-home experience. I felt the same way; I even remember thinking about going away to school since my freshman year of high school.
I had always known that I wanted to be a teacher, so some of my favorite schools with great education programs were West Chester University in West Chester, PA and The College of New Jersey in Trenton, NJ. But I remember always thinking, “How could I ever afford to go away to school?”
Coming from a family with two parents who never went to college and have low paying jobs, I always knew that paying for my education would be difficult. Knowing I would have to handle college tuition on my own, I knew I had to concentrate even more on making sure I had really good grades in high school so I could receive academic scholarships.
Pressures of college and having a successful future seemed to come right when I started high school. I often had to think about how I was doing in school and wonder how that would affect where I would go to college. By the time senior year came around I knew I had to decide what I was doing as far as college was concerned. That’s when I began considering Brookdale Community College, although I had felt like I should do “better.”
Some students may think that going to community college first for a two year degree is either embarrassing or means you are not as driven academically. However, for many students, including myself, going to community college for two years may be the best option when you have to pay for school on your own. At first I felt like I was not achieving my full potential by going to community college, but it was what made the most sense financially.
After I had finished my two years at Brookdale, I was stuck thinking, “Where am I going to transfer to now?”
When I found out about the University’s education program and discovered that it was only a half hour away from my house, I began to consider it as my top choice. Now I am almost done with my first semester here and I could not be any happier with my decision.
Always being a commuter student and never experiencing the college dorm lifestyle at first seemed like such a big deal. Now I realize that I could still have fun at school, make friends, and get the whole experience while still being able to afford it all on my own.
“Being able to put myself through college is something I am very proud of and has helped me build a better understanding and mentality about education and my own sense of responsibility,” shared Gargano.
It really is a great feeling knowing I can do this. It may be difficult and stressful at times, but it’s all worthwhile.
Gargano agrees, “Trying to maintain good grades and work can be exhausting, but in the end it is more than worth it.”